Business / product design

Furniture, innovation and design by Prostoria

High-quality design

Since the beginning, Prostoria has had a strong status among Croatian designers, myself included. As I am writing this article, I am comfortably seated in one of their first products, purchased in 2011, a Co-co sofa with custom made upholstery in grey ribbed corduroy. Now, 10 years later, I can honestly say that it is one of my dearest purchases because it is designed and made in Croatia, it is comfortable, and it still looks great. 

What is more important, the company built on those values – high-quality design, materials and workmanship – became the award-winning, leading furniture brand in Croatia and abroad. This is the story of Prostoria.

The background

The company was founded in 2010 as Kvadra. It is located in northern Croatia, in the Sveti Križ Začretje, Zagorje region. The owner, Tomislav Knezović, had just sold his first company, mattress production company Perfecta, and wanted to make something even bigger. 

From the start, they became known for their high-quality upholstered furniture and for investing in the design as a crucial part of the product development and a generator for competitiveness. In 2014, the company decided they were ready to go global and was renamed Prostoria. 

Prostoria is constantly expanding, always developing more products, and entering new markets. The brand sells in over 60 countries worldwide and showcases in 1000 premium showrooms. 

Designers and collections

The popularity of Prostoria and its furniture is heavily connected to the idea of integrating designers and design processes in the product planning and all phases of the production process. 

The first collaboration with Croatian designers started as a result of the Prostoria’s (then Kvadra) tender for a new product, upholstered furniture for sitting and sleeping, in 2011. The first prize and the production opportunity went to the renowned Croatian designer collective Numen/For Use who, together with Roberta Bratović and Ivana Borovnjak, designed the Revolve sofa that turns into a bed by simply revolving the backrest 180 degrees around the seat. The Revolve brought the first Red Dot Design award to Prostoria. 

The second product launched in collaboration with Croatian designers was the 3angle collection designed by Grupa. The collection consists of a sofa, an armchair and a pouf in characteristic triangle forms on delicate metal construction. 

Over the years, Prostoria expanded its product portfolio with several other award-winning collaborations, including Simon Morasi Piperčić, Sanja Knezović, 3LHD and Redesign. 

Together with designers, Prostoria won dozens of the most important global awards for design – two more Red Dots, Big See Product Design Awards, Golden Key Award, German Design Award and several Interior Innovation Awards.

Innovation and growth

For Prostoria, the goal from the outset was to become recognised for design excellence. The strategy was and still is, successful because many recognised the opportunity to get a high-quality design for a fraction of the price of similar products by, for instance, popular Italian designer brands of furniture. 

The price of Prostoria’s product is not the cheapest, it’s somewhere in the middle range, but it’s affordable. And the durability of the materials and great craftsmanship ensure that one will enjoy the product for a long time.

In time, the production expanded from upholstered furniture to wooden chairs, tables, benches and shelves. The company invested in new carpentry and added a wood drying area, as well as new metalwork production facilities. 

The growth is constant even in times like this. Prostoria is known for its proactive approach to business. For instance, before Covid and restrictions, Prostoria was a regular exhibitor at the biggest European fairs such as IMM Cologne, Maison&Objet in Paris and Salone del Mobile in Milan. They understand the importance of investing not only in the design of the products but also in the presentation ‘in person’ and marketing materials in general.

In 2020, Prostoria decided to reach the people by making a Revisiting Analogue, a project in collaboration with Numen/For Use and Simon Morasi Piperčić, combining architecture, design and film into the event for the local community of architects and designers. They made a ‘forest’ pavilion near the factory and presented the new products there.

Just recently, a year after the Revisiting Analogue project, Prostoria once again opened its doors to the interested public and made an exhibition of their products using their own factory, the wood drying facilities, as an exhibition space. To get a glimpse from afar, check the short movie Revisiting Factory.

Since the fairs are still on hold, the company has introduced a new way of presenting its newest lines because physical contact, touch and feel, are crucial parts of the furniture experience. One cannot experience the main function of the sofa or a chair by simply looking at the pictures online. Furniture has to be used to get the real picture of it.

Projects and showrooms

Self-initiated exhibitions and international fairs are not the only places you can try Prostoria’s furniture. Besides the showroom in Začretje, Prostoria has stores in Zagreb, Rijeka and Split. They also have an office in Beograd. 

In 11 years of existence, Prostoria furnished not only private residences but also dozens of hotels, offices and other public spaces around the world. If you’re visiting Croatia by plane and have the opportunity to use the VIP salon of the Zagreb airport, you will wait for your flight sitting in Trifidae armchairs. Prostoria also furnished several hotels in Dubrovnik, Opatija and Istria, as well as many offices in Croatia and abroad. 

Several Microsoft offices have Combine, Segment and Polygon collections in their lounge areas. PwC offices in Melbourne and Sydney are equipped with Strain chairs. Prostoria’s products can also be found across the globe, in the US, Sweden, Italy, Singapore and Finland, among others.

In 2018, in addition to furniture, the company launched Štof, a separate store offering fabrics from their partners, the most famous textile manufacturers in Europe – Kvadrat, Rohi and Camira. Štof also offers decorative pillows and upholstery services. Just recently, they introduced textile bags made from the remains of upholstery materials.

What’s next?

Today, Prostoria has complete production under one roof – metal, wood and textile. The factory employs 230 people and the number of employees is constantly growing due to the growth of production. 

In a time where production is more and more fragmented, this company goes in another direction. The whole work process and communication strategy are made in-house and by partnering with designers, which results in innovation and synergy. 

With this strategic approach and focus on investing in infrastructure and people, Prostoria has become one of the biggest brands in Croatia in just ten years. We are looking forward to seeing what’s to come.

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